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Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Chapel Hill, Boston, Istanbul, Calgary, Washington DC, Austin, Tunis, Warszawa and counting

Sunday, July 06, 2008

News Update

  • The peculiar American obsession with patriotism is really nothing new, whether it be the constant singing of the national anthem at any sporting event, the fervent display of flags by everyone from car dealerships to veterans-turned-homeless-guys. The gigantic flags in fashion now, really are just an expression of this superficial brand of nationalism. That's what it is though, superficial, I ran around Boston yesterday (the 4th of July) asking people how many of the luminaries that signed the Declaration of Independence they knew. Most replied with one only (John Hancock). Shouldn't you at least know about something before you are proud of it?

  • The new American embassy in Berlin was unveiled officially yesterday. It is in a very prestigious spot, right next to the Brandenburger Tor. John Kornblum, the old American ambassador to Germany, is quoted in the article as saying: "For some reason, when we asked for our increased security enhancements a lot of people in this city went crazy. We endured all kinds of taunts and demands. ‘What do you Americans think you’re doing?’"

    Well, with all due respect, Mr Kornblum your early requests if I remember correctly involve having a security area around the building that would have virtually closed the biggest tourist attraction of Berlin to any visitors. So, yeah, sorry, but I thought that was pretty cheeky as far as security concerns go as well. Definitely, not just an anti-America attitude the way the article portrays it.

  • Ever since this Jayhawker I know complained of my too optimistic portrayal of race in the United States, the New York Times has decided to show me that he is right. Seems like I have to rescind this post of mine and become more of my cynic old self in that regard.

  • The impact of rising gas prices on the USA is quite incredible. It affects virtually every part of life here. Having read the New York Times daily ever since I came here again it is striking how this country will have to change in the mid- and long-term if these oil prices don't change anytime soon. (1, 2, 3)

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